Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) is a popular way for people to support local farmers and receive fresh-picked, seasonal produce directly from the farm. The Kansas City Metro area has several CSA programs that offer a variety of produce options and community involvement opportunities. In this blog, we will explore the top five Community Supported Agriculture programs in the KC Metro area.
CSAs are an excellent way to infuse your kitchen with an abundance of farm fresh, locally grown produce. If you're interested in supporting a local farmer and getting a share of what they harvest each week, joining a CSA may be for you. Members of a Kansas City area CSA program receive produce throughout the growing season, typically from May through October. Some CSAs last year-round and the winter share simply shifts to winter crops and shelf-stable products like herbs, spices, pickles, ferments, jellies, and dried or frozen produce. See the details of each CSA at the farm's website.
Bear in mind that each week your share will be different based on what is being harvested on the farm that week! The diversity of plants and nutrients is something to celebrate. If you and your family are up for trying new foods and recipes often, then you will love participating in a CSA! One notable difference in CSA (and farmer's market) produce vs store bought produce is shelf life. In our experience with Pat & Rachels' Gardens CSA, the produce often stays fresh 2-3 times longer than store bought produce, simply because it's time from harvest to your fridge is much-shorter.
Each farm typically has a few options of pickup day, time, and location. You can find more information about the details of each CSA listed below by clicking the picture or links.
Fair Share Farm is a solar-powered, regenerative farm that produces a variety of nutrient-dense vegetables using biologic practices. Members of the CSA program receive a monthly jar of ferments throughout the year. Fermented foods grown in fertile soil are super-foods for your gut microbiome.
The Fair Share Farm CSA has some unique features. Members can join in the work on the farm one Saturday a month. The CSA also has a sliding scale price-point with 3 options, with the more expensive option allowing another member to get a discount. The Fair Share Farm motto is, "Feed the soil, feed the people."
KC Farm School at Gibbs Road is a farm-based 501 (c)(3) educational nonprofit organization that offers three seasonal 10-week CSA subscriptions and a 30-week full year option. The farm is located on a 20-acre plot in Kansas City, Kansas, and produces a wide variety of fruits and vegetables. The farm leadership and staff are passionate about "...empowering individuals through on-farm, hands-on experiences and vocational education connecting them to the land and soil, food, community, and opportunity."
KC Farm School's CSA program is unique because members (and the public) have the opportunity to volunteer on the farm and learn about sustainable, regenerative agriculture practices. This includes planting, harvesting, and caring for the crops. The farm also offers educational workshops on topics such as pollinator gardens, composting, and beekeeping along with immersive farm tours. They also have a wide array of CSA add-ons from their local partners including bread, coffee, composting, ferments, mushrooms, and animal products.
New Roots for Refugees is a program that helps refugees start their own small farm businesses. The program provides training, resources, and land to refugees who are interested in starting a farm. Members of the Farm Share (CSA) program receive a weekly share of produce from several different refugee-owned farms throughout the KC Metro area.
One unique aspect of New Roots for Refugees' Farm Share (CSA) program is that members have the opportunity to support refugees who are working to build a new life in the United States. The program also offers a variety of produce options, as each farm produces different crops based on the farmer's background and experience. "By purchasing a farm share from New Roots for Refugees, you are supporting a refugee family as they put down roots in Kansas City."
Pat & Rachel’s Gardens is a family-owned and operated farm located in Olathe, Kansas. The farm produces a variety of fruits and vegetables using organic practices. Members of the CSA program receive a weekly share of produce during their chosen season: Spring or Summer.
Pat and Rachel's Gardens is unique in the area due to their USDA Organic certification and solar-powered operations. They are the only USDA Certified Organic farm in the Metro offering a CSA. In addition to the CSA program, Pat & Rachel’s Gardens also participates in local farmer's markets and hosts events throughout the year.
Where The Red Fern Grows is a small family farm located in Independence, Missouri. The farm produces a variety of fruits and vegetables using organic practices. Members of the CSA program receive a weekly share of produce throughout the growing season, which typically runs from May through October.
Where The Red Fern Grows also offers farm-to-table dinners featuring produce from the farm. These dinners provide an opportunity for members to meet the farmers and enjoy a meal made with fresh, local ingredients. The farm also hosts educational workshops and farm tours throughout the year.
The Kansas City Metro area has several CSA programs that offer fresh, local produce and community involvement opportunities. From KC Farm School's farm-based education program to New Roots for Refugees' program that supports refugee farmers, there is a CSA program for everyone. The above farms are all doing their part to produce fresh, nutritious food while not only protecting the soil, but regenerating it. Local regenerative agriculture actively sequesters carbon from the nearby atmosphere. By supporting local farmers through a CSA program, you are not only getting fresh, seasonal produce but also supporting sustainable agriculture practices and lowering the carbon footprint of your plate deliciously and nutritiously.